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“Across the Universe” Day for NASA and Beatles Fans

Article written: 1 Feb , 2008
Updated: 26 Dec , 2015
by

NASA will use its Deep Space Network to transmit a song across the universe. And fittingly, the song is “Across the Universe” by the Beatles. On Feb. 4 at 7 pm EST, the song will be beamed towards the North Star, Polaris, located 431 light years away from Earth, and will travel across the universe at 186,000 miles per second.

Former Beatle Paul McCartney thinks this is a great idea. “Send my love to the aliens,” he said in a message to NASA.

If there are any beings near Polaris, they’ll hear the song in about 431 years.

The song’s transmission will commemorate the 40th anniversary of the day The Beatles recorded the song, as well as the 50th anniversary of both NASA’s founding and the beginning days of the Beatles. Two other anniversaries also are being honored: The launch 50 years ago this week of Explorer 1, the first U.S. satellite, and the founding 45 years ago of the Deep Space Network, an international network of antennas that supports missions to explore the universe.

Feb. 4 has been declared “Across The Universe Day” by Beatles fans to commemorate the anniversaries. As part of the celebration, the public around the world has been invited to participate in the event by simultaneously playing the song at the same time as the transmission by NASA.

John Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, characterized the song’s transmission as a significant event. “I see that this is the beginning of the new age in which we will communicate with billions of planets across the universe,” she said.

Even though radio and television signals on Earth ‘leak’ out into space all the time, hopefully NASA can use this event to generate enthusiasm and promote awareness of its history, as well as its plans for future missions.

Additionally, this is a chance for the public to learn more about the Deep Space Network, NASA’s incredibly reliable system of radio antennas that is critical in supporting lunar and planetary exploration. The DSN is used for tracking of spacecraft, sending telemetry and commands, and for deep space navigation. Learn more about the DSN here.

Original News Source: NASA Press Release

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18 Responses

  1. Victor Sheckels says

    It is good that a song was sent that would tell prospective aliens a little about our species’s spiritual life.

    Lyrics:

    Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup,
    They slither wildly as they slip away across the universe.
    Pools of sorrow, waves of joy are drifting through my open mind,
    Possessing and caressing me.
    Jai guru deva om.

    Nothing’s gonna change my world,
    Nothing’s gonna change my world,
    Nothing’s gonna change my world,
    Nothing’s gonna change my world.

    Images of broken light which dance before me like a million eyes,
    Thay call me on and on across the universe.
    Thoughts meander like a restless wind inside a letter box,
    They tumble blindly as they make their way across the universe.
    Jai guru deva om.

    Nothing’s gonna change my world,
    Nothing’s gonna change my world,
    Nothing’s gonna change my world,
    Nothing’s gonna change my world.

    Sounds of laughter shades of love are ringing through my open ears,
    Inciting and inviting me.
    Limitless undying love which shines around me like a million suns,
    It calls me on and on across the universe.
    Jai guru deva om.

    Nothing’s gonna change my world,
    Nothing’s gonna change my world,
    Nothing’s gonna change my world,
    Nothing’s gonna change my world.

    Jai guru deva om,
    Jai guru deva om,
    Jai guru deva om…

  2. sophie says

    thats really cool,songs in space……….
    will it be everlasting???????????????

  3. Lawrence says

    to bad the others weren’t here to experince this[, John & George] why do we put off the positive, and speed up the negitive ? (wars, polution global warming, etc?

  4. steve says

    This notion of transmitting the Beatles song to the North Star is a great idea, but I recently read somewhere (I think on BAUT) that transmissions of radio and TV signals degrade into just white noise after they travel a couple of lights years in distance. Is this true? If so I hope this particular transmission doesn’t cost anything!!

  5. John says

    So, are they pointing the antenna directly at Polaris? I mean, where we see Polaris to be? Because, from what I understand, Polaris isn’t there due to the time it takes for it’s light to reach us. If we really wanted to send a signal directly at the star, we’d have to know where it is RIGHT NOW and then compensate the angle for where it WILL BE in the 431 light years it will take for our signal to reach it. If you ask me, it’s a silly PR stunt that is wasting money that would be better spent on real science.

  6. dw says

    I think it would be better if NASA transmitted “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”. The aliens might get a kick out of it.

  7. Starman 1000 says

    Well, I thought I might look up the answers to Johns question. So I did the usual internet search. E-gads! To answer that is very involved. But as an amateure astronomer myself, I would say that this “stunt” is mostly worthless. Good for press coverage and all that sort of thing, but very impracticle; based on my research into this so far. I am not into math so maybe one of you out there could crunch the numbers for us all and give us the exact answer, or at least a close one. seems to me that if we as an “intelligent” species wanted to send a goofy signal, should not we send one to somone who is very close to us? There are many star systems that are much closer. Lets pick one that measurements show that there is a planetary system in orbit around it. I mean, geez- let’s get real here for crying out loud!

  8. yelsub64 says

    awsome really. Hopfully in 431 years we wont be invaded by aliens, but we will be asked of that was us who sent that beautiful song. We will say yes and then we will through a party showing the aliens more of the works of the greatest band in the universe.

  9. Brian says

    Sending music into space is a great idea, as long as we know it will be heard where we want it to be…and as long as it isn’t William Shatner.

  10. Colleen says

    But it’s not a waste! It has people thinking and talking; quite possibly individuals who had not considered the meaning of space exploration. Our scientists have amazing jobs, finding amazing things, but so much is the dry waiting time. Think of this as cosmic recess…and you are invited.

  11. Kris says

    All of you stodgy people need to chill out! This isn’t completely about science. It’s about the joy of music. So what if it degrades into white noise? So what if it costs money? So what it it’s scientifically “useless?” It’s about letting potential others maybe know something that has brought joy to millions of our species.

    Spread the love, NASA!

  12. On Feb 1, 2008 2:31 PM DrSETI wrote:

    http://comments-submit.nasa.gov/commenting/Comment.do?uiAction=listComments&location=http://www.nasa.gov/topics/universe/features/across_universe.html&siteID=245441819

    The statement “For the first time ever, NASA will beam a song ” is true, but misleading. Yes, this is the first time *NASA* has beamed a song into space, but it is not the first such transmission. The first interstellar music transmission was “1st Theremin Concert for Aliens,” transmitted in Aug-Sep 2001 by Dr. Alexander L. Zaitsev, from the Evpatoria Deep Space Station in Ukraine.

  13. Thomas says

    I think this is an awesome notion and experiment. Sure, we don’t know if Aliens will have MP3 players to listen to this song or however it’s being transmitted. It’s just a fun way for NASA to celebrate it’s well-deserved anniversary, as well as the Beatles’. True, there is no science to it, but it’s a way for the world to appreciate music and science coming together for this event.

  14. Amber says

    Ok, My husband and I are huge beatles fans. And we are both musicians. While this is a fabulous, music-exalting idea in theory, I find it all very silly. I also do not think this makes me any less a musician or a Beatles fan. Good day.

  15. Tink says

    It’s exciting anyway, and provokes you to think and take you out of the dull routine of day to day. I like to think John will hear it where ever he is in the universe!

  16. Kevin says

    where can one go to hear what this transmission sounds like? I’m interested to hear this.

  17. Benjamin says

    This is one of the most amazing things I’ve heard of. My dad told me about it the day of the transmission. Which was one day before “Across The Universe” The Beatles musical motion picture came out on DVD. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then look it up. But I have noticed over the past couple of years that The Beatles are making a comeback. I know that is kinda hard to do what with John Lennon and George Harrison not being with us anymore, but think about it. They made another Beatles movie, their song is broadcast through the stars, they’ve been mentioned in many other movies, i.e. Evan Almighty, Super Bad, Shrek 3, Dewey Cox, in Shallow Hal, and the list goes on. The Beatles might not be able to come back in full force, but they are coming back “To Battle!” At the Grammy’s, Green Day and U2 performed songs written by The Beatles. Green Day did “Imagine” and U2 did “Instant Karma.” All this talk and mention and work on and about The Beatles is not a coincidence, something “Sensational” is going to happen in the near future. “John Lennon vs. America” and much more, the members of the magical band may die, but their words, and music, and greatness, will never parish or dissapear. The Beatles will live on forever, there’s no stopping them.
    !!The Beatles Live!!

  18. someguy says

    I cant believe I just found out about this today! And if you think the aliens are going to invade using ships. your wrong. They will most likely just try and defeat us in halo 3 on xbox live. Or just sneak in from Mexico!

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